Monday, 12 January 2009

The rotary clothesline, a night of strong wind and rain and chaos.

Chaos and and its sensitive dependence on initial conditions.

The rotary clotheslines dryer outside in the open, a system proper, with clothes hung, pegs and clotheslines, as it appeared after a night of strong wind and rain. Clothes still soaking wet, pegs and clotheslines all twisted around, wrapped with one another, a real mess. The ordered state of the hung clothes the night before and the chaotic state, tangled up clothes pegs and clotheslines, in a chaotic arrangement, the morning after.

Trying to untangle the wet cloths hooked by pegs on the clotheslines, in a manner reminiscent of, re-tracing back the paths taken, proved hard if not impossible. But when I unhooked the pegs and took off the clothes, and hang them back again, the only solution, clothes and lines were untangled.

The pegs provided the constraints. Determined the paths followed towards their chaotic states.

The first thought came up, when I noticed the sleeve of a blouse wrapped around successively onto different stretches of ropes that run parallel on the rotary. The wind wrapped the sleeve around the stretches of rope, in stages. At the end of each stage, the state achieved, represented the initial conditions, and these states-cum-initial conditions determined the next state of the sleeve and rope system. The next stage.

Each new state-cum-initial condition represented the arrangement upon which the wind, the force-bearer, the rain, the provider of wetness, which formed stable bonds between the items, the low temperatures which froze clothes on ropes, all-in-all a parametre-fixing process for the new state of the rope-sleeve system, being the initial state for another bout of chaotic development.

That leads to the thought that in every state presented, in any system, there lie the initial conditions capable to drive a bout of chaos, to be the field that chaotic dynamics can unleash its power.

Successive states, from one end to another, and intermediate states in-between. Each intermediate state capable by itself to be the initial conditions for a chaotic development, and possibly a bifurcation to new attractors.

What if someone tries to unfold, to trace back from a certain state, to the state or states before? Not from within the system as the traces are lost.

When I tried to untangle sleeve and rope system, I realised that I could not untangle rope and sleeve by going back to the state immediately before. I had to unhook the pegs and remove the blouse completely. That released the holds between the two items, constraints no longer applied, and as both were freed by the ties chaos created, the items were separated, reverted into their primary states, got released. The same happened with all the other clothes items, which again I had to unhook the pegs, the pegs representing the restraining conditions which were responsible for the chaos in the clotheslines rotary.

Myself, I was acting as an outside force, overseeing the whole chaotic situation and ignoring the rules that created the chaotic state. I acted from above it, provided the solution and resolved the stalemate.

The thought relevant to the way the solution came up, by being out of the boundaries of the system or even being above the system, which it can be taken as a solution provided from a system, in that case the system that includes the system sleeve-clotheslines, is reminiscent of the idea of 'απο μηχανης θεος' or its Latin equivalent 'deux-ex-machina', in the Greek plays of antiquity. Deux-ex-machina offered the opportunity to the writer of play, to invent a solution that the actors needed in the course of the play, which was not part of the plot. It was out of the plot.

The thought about 'deus ex machina', can further be extended in the thought that the solutions provided do not take into consideration of what we perceive, what our senses allows to see. Solutions that appear to be out of context?

It can even be thought in connection with evolution. Speciation? How the selection of a population to become a species takes place? A 'deus ex machina' process to effect selection, instead of natural selection? Rendering natural selection concept obsolete?

Figments reminiscent of what makes the whole more than the sum of its parts? Even implicated with the emergent properties of the whole? Properties that the parts do not have?

Imagine what will happen in similar situations, in systems bringing forth the principles of self-similarity and universality of chaotic dynamics, where it is not possible to have an overall, or an above all picture of the developed situation, the developed chaotic state. In a social situation. Would somebody not feel helpless, suffocated, lost in the tangles that states in every stage, acted as initial conditions upon which chaos worked on and produced the tangles, state-acting-initial condition upon state-acting-initial condition, loosing trace of the state that existed before,that it was before.

Loosing trace of the state(s) that existed before? What does this actually mean? That the outcome state become overwhelming in our consciousness? We can not see underneath it? The parametres and variables of the state presented to our perception, swamps our consciousness and we cannot define what were the states-cum-initial conditions underneath? Preceding the outcome state. Something that possibly has to do with the paradigm shift effect?

One thing comes out of this clothes rotary incident? Chaos works at any given state as if (?) the state presents the initial conditions. Sensitive dependence and all that determines the outcome state. Chaos ignores what the previous states were or are. What it matters is the state at a given point of time and space. All other attributes inherent in the state are irrelevant and are buried under the newly created state. Buried, out of sight, they can not be seen, no stimuli evident, they are forgotten?

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